Tragedy strikes again for owner of popular Durbanville guest house

2019-06-18 22:22
A fire at Ruslamere in the Western Cape damaged the kitchen and reception area and destroyed a few other rooms. (Jenni Evans, News24)

A fire at Ruslamere in the Western Cape damaged the kitchen and reception area and destroyed a few other rooms. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The fire that destroyed the kitchen at Durbanville's Ruslamere guest house is the second devastating blow for the owner after she lost her husband in a vehicle accident two years ago. 

After Gisela Rathbone's husband, Russell, died in the accident, she stayed on at the popular four-star conference venue, spa, and restaurant. 

"She is a very strong lady," said the company's marketing specialist, Charnelle Ollewagen, as charred and jagged tiles and beams were etched into the sky after the fire. 

PICS: Luxury Cape Town guest house on fire, guests evacuated

"Rusty", as Rathbone's husband was known, was killed while they were travelling in convoy with friends to Botswana. 

They swerved to avoid an oncoming truck, but Rusty was killed when his vehicle, the third in the convoy, was hit, Netwerk24 reported at the time.

Ollewagen said all the staff was on duty when the fire started, so they were able to evacuate everybody quickly.

Guests were also able to take their personal belongings with them and were accommodated elsewhere.

A fire in Durbanville
Firefighters battling the blaze at the luxury guest house in Durbanville. (Supplied, Western Cape Traffic Department)

They are currently working on getting the venue up and running again once the fire marshal gives them the go-ahead.

The fire at the guesthouse in Langeberg Road, Durbanville, broke out at around 05:30, according to Jermaine Carelse, the media spokesperson for City of Cape Town Fire Service.

"We have 29 staff members, eight firefighting appliances, tanks and water tankers; a rescue vehicle and BA [breathing apparatus] vehicle on the scene," said Carelse earlier on Tuesday.

No injuries were reported, and the immediate damage was to the kitchen and reception area, as well as on the upper floor. Two offices, a bedroom and bathroom were destroyed. 

Meanwhile, local residents slowed down at the grand gates for a look at what had befallen the local landmark.

"I loved that place! I had my 50th birthday there," said one man wistfully.

Read more on:    durbanville  |  fire

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.